Barnaby apologises, but where is the love?

By | | comments |
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce apologises to his wife, daughters and mistress (screen shot via abc.net.au).

Joyce's apology for his affair with Campion is all about him and his political survival, and insults our intelligence, writes contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence.

BETRAYAL OF LOVE escapes few of us in our journey through life.

A private betrayal played out in private circles is one thing. A public betrayal played out in public is quite another. 

Regardless, in either scenario, no one can properly compare or measure the quantum of hurt inflicted upon the dramatis personae. Nor is it fair to do so. 

Whether one is the wrong-doer or the person wronged – and who is to say – a seemingly once enduring love can metastasize into a vituperative argument and trigger primaeval emotional responses, where our survival instinct comes under threat of buckling under pressure or is strengthened. Or both. There is blurring between the ignition of fight or flight. Blurring between smite and the smitten.

Relationships can die the death of a thousand cuts. Love can be born in an instant or like a flame, burn brighter when beguiled with the oxygen of time.


The Barnaby Joyce grande scandale has clearly eviscerated Natalie, his wife of 24 years, to say nothing of their four daughters — all of whom have featured prominently in the political marketing and success of Team Joyce for decades. Media files abound with cheery family portraits of Joyce with his "girls".

But the publication of pictures showing a pregnant Vikki Campion – her husband's mistress and former employee – prompted Natalie Joyce to release a statement. No taking it for the team this time. 

In an article in last week's (7 February) Australian, associate editor Caroline Overington quoted from Natalie Joyce's statement:

I am deeply saddened by the news that my husband is now having a child with a former staff member. I understand that this has been going on for many months and started when she was a paid employee.

This situation is devastating on many fronts. For my girls who are affected by the family breakdown and for me as a wife of 24 years, who placed my own career on hold to support Barnaby through his political life.

Our family life has had to be shared during Barnaby’s political career and it was with trust that we let campaign and office staff into our homes and into our lives. Naturally we also feel hurt by the actions of Barnaby and the staff member involved.

The situation for myself and the girls will be made worse by the fact that this will all be played out in public so at this time, I would ask that the girls and I are given some privacy and time to come to terms with the consequences and take steps to plan our future.

There is no hell of a woman scorned in her statement, but there is the solitary hell of a woman who has pawned herself to her husband's political career – and, by definition, the Coalition Government's survival – and sacrificed her own career in doing so.

Most of us can identify with the loss of the sometimes cruel reality of "now", compared with what might have been. It was an astutely worded and strong statement and its sting will have escaped few, especially in nailing Joyce and Campion as a treacherous and scheming pair. 

It is ironic that "the wife" has displayed more media nous than that of the media adviser "mistress".


In one fell swoop, Natalie Joyce unequivocably puts the Australian people on notice that her now-estranged husband is unfit for public office because he is an arch deceiver and homewrecker, who had lied to her and their daughters and pretended he was something he was not: upfront, honest, loyal, transparent. All qualities highly desirable in a partner in life and in a partner in politics. 

She no longer trusts him and nor should we. Vikki Campion is dealt with swiftly and lethally.

She was, like other staffers and campaigners, welcomed into the Joyce family home. Say no more.

Barnaby Joyce's cock has crowed at least twice. Firstly, as an avowed Catholic when he and Natalie exchanged vows on the marriage altar and, secondly, sacrificing Natalie on the altar of his political ambition. He has not denied that Campion is carrying his child. 

When Natalie Joyce attended the annual Mid-Winter Ball with Barnaby last year, there would hardly have been a soul in the room who did not know that her wise-cracking, whip-cracking Akubra-wearing husband had been bonking Vikki Campion, his media adviser. 

Like Caesar's wife who was expected to be above reproach and dutiful, Natalie Joyce kept her composure and said nothing about her husband's philanderings, enabling him to win the New England by-election, to get back into the saddle playing Tonto alongside Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's antipodean version of a Sloane Ranger

Some might think her subjugation to Joyce's political will – and that of the Liberal National Party Coalition – displayed her collusion in Joyce's deception to constituents. 

Others will argue that given, as a couple, she and Barnaby had both worked so hard together to achieve and maintain his role of Deputy PM, why should she squander those decades of personal sacrifice and effort?


The carnal proclivities of our politicians are said to be none of our business. But here's the inside leg rub. It is, in fact, our business. We pay our politicians for the privilege of representing us — to the nation, to the world. Thus, they are our employees, we are their employers. Couldn't be simpler. 

There is both an implied and in fact contract between us and indeed, they swear an oath to affirm this temporary marriage between the Parliament and we the people. 

As the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Barnaby Joyce is a heartbeat away from the prime ministership. 

His dual involvement with two women and two families exceeds the collateral damage of his dual citizenship fiasco.  

His abject hypocrisy in speaking against same-sex marriage is symptomatic of the ongoing duplicity of this and earlier parliaments. For Australians, our patience has been sorely tested with scandal after scandal, fiasco after fiasco, transgression and sins of omission, let alone sins of emission.  

We are expected to surrender our most intimate details to them and are punished if we don't, and yet our politicians constantly evade criminal investigation, charges, punitive measures, serious rebuke or reprimand even from their own colleagues and those on other sides of the chamber(s) for fear some of them will be caught out doing the same thing.

Like the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse juggernaut that continues to grow like a giant fatberg in a sewer, the affair between Barnaby Joyce and his former media adviser Vikki Campion has been loud rumour for months. Hundreds of people, if not thousands, have known about it — journalists included. 

Each day brings further revelations, as we inch closer to the reality and the truer of many truths of the Joyce grande scandale in this world of spin, propaganda, political machinations, and the closing ranks of the ol' boys and girls network. 

How and where farmer/accountant Barnaby Joyce practices his husbandry techniques has become our business. And he and Ms Campion have made it so. 

Again, Parliament's collective hypocrisy manifests in its code of omerta and double standards when it comes to protecting the actions of its red-blooded white males. 


What if Barnaby Joyce was a spunky, handsome, ripped, attractive young man who was media adviser to Deputy Prime Minister Vikki Campion? What if Campion was a ruddy-faced whip crackin' mum with a beer pot, who had four sons with Nathan, her husband of 24 years, who had sacrificed his own career and agreed to be a stay-at-home dad and bring up the boys while Deputy PM Campion ploughed her way through the political paddocks to reach the peak of National Party nirvana, to stand at the central right hand of PM Turnbull — a need in search of a friend?

Now imagine if Deputy PM Vikki Campion, 50 years old, betrayed her husband's loyalty and trust, and embarked on an affair with the 33-year-old staffer Barnaby Joyce and that, further, Barnaby Joyce had impregnated Deputy PM Campion who was now carrying his fifth child.

What if Deputy PM Campion, now heavily pregnant abandoned the family home to live free of charge in a property in Armidale owned by a multi-millionaire where she installed her former media adviser Barnaby Joyce, expecting him too, to become a stay at home dad?

Without question, there would be hell to pay. The female deputy PM would be forced to resign — or be sacked!

If Barnaby Joyce has despicably treated his family, then surely in his interview with 7.30's Leigh Sales, he also demeaned his lover and Baby Mama. In fact, he inflicts injury to all those in his two families:

I don't recall him once using the word "love". 

In his truculent exchange with Sales, Joyce's evasiveness and dishonesty splintered its way through the flesh of this telling interview. He was disingenuous. How could you not mention love in an interview that leaned heavily on your affair, and the impact it had on your wife and mistress and children?


He has given his unborn child an awful historical baptism. He has insulted the mother of his unborn child who remained nameless but omnipresent.

“I'll say up-front that one of the greatest failures in my life was the end of my marriage, and I do not in any way stand away from that.”

How cruel. How cruel also to Vikki Campion and their baby. Instead of blaming the media, Joyce could have talked about the love he presumably still has for Natalie and his daughters — and for his new love. If, indeed, he loves her. One got no sense of that in his interview with Sales. Just the opposite.

It was subliminal victim-blaming of Vikki Campion and her baby for causing one of the "greatest failures of my life".

Joyce is already the beneficiary of the services of a media adviser, although she has professionally mismanaged the whole affair and its inevitable fallout. 

Ethically, she (with Joyce's encouragement) should have exited from his employ. Instead, it appears that political pressure ultimately saw her remaindered to other politicians, possibly with an increasing salary package. Not a good look. 

There are legitimate concerns that public monies may have underwritten this affair.

As Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek told Barrie Cassidy on the ABC's The Insiders yesterday:

The only area in which there is a genuine public interest is in the area of the expenditure of taxpayer funds and there have been questions over the last couple of days about jobs that have been created for Vikki Campion, the expenditure of taxpayer funds on travel. I think those are areas where the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister ought to be fully transparent.

Whilst it is unquestionably in the public interest to scrutinise the peccadillos of the members of our so-called honourable members, ethically, we have a duty of care to the innocents involved in such philandering. 

Certainly, if the admitted affair between Joyce and Campion was underwritten by taxpayers, then we have the right to know the extent of our donation. There may be more pressing needs of our financial largesse than Joyce's mistress.  


There is also speculation about possible security breaches in any "pillow talk". As Deputy PM, Joyce will enjoy particular security clearance not shared by subordinate staffers. 

We need assurance from the Prime Minister that there has been no national security breach of any kind and that Ms Campion has not been privy to classified intelligence and security documents.

Those of us who live in glass houses dare not throw pebbles, let alone stones into the boudoir of consenting adults. We have yet to hear from Ms Campion herself, to confirm the status of her relationship with Joyce and whether she was in any way coerced or compromised because of the obvious power imbalance between a powerful male political leader and a female employee.


Joyce's short statement on his affair this morning was ambiguous. He asserted that Campion was now his "partner" — but was not his partner when she worked in his office. Yeah, right!

This is classic and feeble word spin that is utterly inadequate in even outmoded damage "control", let alone crisis management. And it's inadequate for we people. It is an insult to our intelligence — as if we are too dopey to understand that Ms Campion may not have formerly been his "partner" but they could still have been f***ing one another.

On today's tenth anniversary of Kevin Rudd's apology to our First Nations, Joyce's apology was all about him and his political survival — especially since he'll have the key to the drinks cabinet when he fills in as prime minister next week, when Malcolm Turnbull goes to visit the United States of Trump:

"I'd like to say to Natalie how deeply sorry I am, to my girls how deeply sorry I am … [and] to Vikki Campion how deeply sorry I am that she has been dragged into this.”

We cannot afford to deny any of us of the wonder and splendour of love, but two things are missing from this sorry business: honesty and love.

As Oscar Wilde said:

"Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead."

Political careers, too, can die the death of a thousand cuts.

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

Monthly Donation


Single Donation


Don't be sorry. Subscribe to IA today.

Recent articles by Tess Lawrence
#7 TOP STORY OF 2021: The night Porter and allegations of rape

The horrifying rape allegations against Christian Porter proved to one of the ...  
The night Porter and allegation of rape

Attorney-General Christian Porter deserves the backlash received from the public ...  
Trump impeachment: He's so bad they did it twice

The destruction of democracy in the Capitol on January 6, live-streamed by proud ...  
Join the conversation
comments powered by Disqus

Support Fearless Journalism

If you got something from this article, please consider making a one-off donation to support fearless journalism.

Single Donation


Support IAIndependent Australia

Subscribe to IA and investigate Australia today.

Close Subscribe Donate